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598u modem on the fritz?

just wondering what i should do here.

if i move my netbook a little or brush against the modem just slightly it will often disconnect. also the speeds are now way down, typically in the 10-30 KB per second (bytes) range. i have bought a used backup 598u but not sure if i should spend the $50 activation fee. i also bought a new 3g/4g modem for $25 off ebay but i forgot that it prob doesnt support linux

also, there seems to be an existing problem with all the usb ports on this computer as sometimes when i have an external usb hdd drive thats plugged into 2 ports on the other side if i accidently brush against that cable the hdd may sometimes loose connection. the computer is about 4 years old and the usb ports seem a little rusted.

back to the usb modem i tried it on a newer netbook that i rarelt use and it still has some of the same problems, sometimes have to plug it in 5-10 times before it is recognized and the modem lights up. i thought it could be moisture affecting the modem because we have very wet weather lately and i use it on the covered porch but not so sure now. seems like when its been operating a while if i accidentally brush against it it will be recognized again very soon but if it hasnt been used for 24 hours and is cold it might take 10-20 attempts before its recognized.

any thoughts or recommendations?